For all the benefits of having the world of knowledge stored in your pocket, why is face-to-face training still ‘a thing’?
Why do countless organisations still undertake face-to-face and does it offer the best learning outcome?
Why face-to-face has a place:
Humans are complex, we learn in many dimensions
Human behaviour is complex. Generally, we don’t like making changes to our behavior – especially if it’s going to make us uncomfortable in the process, even if it’s of benefit to us in the long term.
To install new habits and skills – usually the purpose of the training we do – you need to artfully engage all learners on multiple levels. That’s often difficult when if everyone is sitting in front of a screen.
A good facilitator can capture a group within the first 20 minutes of any session. They’re experts at understanding human behaviour, ‘reading a room’, challenging learners in a way that helps them expand their thinking, and giving every learner what they need to get the most out of a session.
Human beings are social by design – it’s called face-to-face for a reason!
The depth and quality of conversation is unparalleled in face-to-face training. Conversations are richer and allow for ‘in-the-moment’ dialogue between participants, away from the misinterpretation that can happen online.
Working with peers in real life (IRL), and supported by a live facilitator, also gives us instant feedback (both verbal and non-verbal) which leads to a richer learning experience.
Face-to-face can be more accessible.
Doing a qualification or training via online delivery favours those who can sit, watch and type – often for a long period of time. While this works for some, other learners may have barriers with language, writing or technology – or a combination.
A facilitator can quickly pivot the tone, examples or explanations used, and the type of assessments and activities required, based on the needs of the participants in the room – often in the moment, based on what the facilitator observes.
For others – particularly if undertaking an accredited course over a long duration – the self-discipline to complete an online program becomes a factor. This is both a financial risk to the organisation if learners don’t complete their training, as well as a missed opportunity for the new learning knowledge to create the required change.
A study by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education looked at completion rates of higher education students and found only 44% of online learners finish their studies, compared to 77% of on-campus students.
Quicker results and intense focus
Online learning can be positioned as ‘quicker’ and more convenient however this relies on your people actually finding the time to do the work and complete the necessary assessments.
When you train people face to face and make the time to invest in them being in the room, there are fewer distractions and a higher likelihood of participation, completion and retention.
Learners can get ‘in the zone’ and give 100% of their attention to the program, leading to more successful outcomes.
Students of accredited qualifications delivered solely online often give feedback that it’s a struggle to complete. Usually they will need to complete assessments for every unit, often demonstrating the same competency over and over ag Save & Exit ain as it repeats in different units. This means they have to do more, for no additional learning benefit.
Integrated assessment means the facilitator may assess learners once for a competency that can then apply across all the units, resulting in a reduction of time and duplication, without compromising on the assessment quality.
For organisations, face-to-face training can be a team building opportunity. It allows you to ‘cross-pollinate’ people from your organisation or give work teams a platform to work together to collaborate in a different environment, away from workplace distractions. It’s also surprising how much your people will learn from (and about) each other as they bring their insights and experiences to the training room.